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Fox Valley Humane Association was founded as the Appleton Humane Society on December 26, 1891, making it the second oldest humane society in the state of Wisconsin. In 1929, the articles of incorporation were reinstated by a small group of concerned citizens. During the next 20 years, the members cared for stray and unwanted animals in their private homes and accepted no public funds for their work or services. During this time, the organization’s name was the Outagamie County Humane Society (OCHS).

In 1949, the City of Appleton turned its dog pound over to the society. The City maintained the building; the society ran the business. By 1951, the animals had a new shelter built next to the city sewage treatment plant on the Fox River. Eleven years later, the shelter moved again, this time next to the Mackville landfill.

Construction of the next facility, located at 3401 West Brewster Street in Appleton, began in late 1982 and was completed in March 1983. Finally, a shelter with neither sewage treatment plant nor landfill anywhere in sight (or within smelling distance!).

In the Spring of 1989, the humane society held a special membership meeting to change the name of the organization. On May 7, with the organization’s best interests at heart, OCHS became the Fox Valley Humane Association, Ltd., in order to better reflect its status as a full-service humane organization that serves the entire Fox River Valley.

Recognition of FVHA’s achievements came in the form of the Standards of Excellence accreditation from the American Humane Association in 1993. FVHA is the only humane organization in Wisconsin with this status.

In October of 2005, FVHA’s current facility, the Susan Schuster Pet Resource Center, opened at N115 Two Mile Road in Appleton. The opening of Fox Valley Humane Association’s new home came after seven years of hard work, dedication, planning and generous contributions from the community. The 21,000-square-foot building, shaped like an ark, provides features only dreamed about in the old FVHA shelters: a top-of-the-line ventilation system to curtail the spread of disease; an education room which is utilized by the Fox Valley Technical College for their Veterinary Technician program; a dedicated vet treatment room; private “get-acquainted rooms” for people meeting potential pets; and the list goes on.

Today, FVHA cares for nearly 4,000 animals annually. The organization is recognized as a leader in animal care and for its outstanding educational programs in the community.


What kinds of animals do you take in?
The Fox Valley Humane Association aims to help as many animals as possible, for this reason we focus on accepting at risk strays and easier to place animals. We help dogs, cats, horses, llamas, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, ferrets, small rodents, reptiles and many other companion animals. Please call us at 920-733-1717 if you have questions concerning an animal.

Who do I call if the shelter is closed?
If you have an animal emergency or need to report a stray animal or animal abuse, contact your local law enforcement agency.

Is your shelter operated by the county?
NO. FVHA is a private, locally-owned and operated non-profit organization. Our annual budget is in excess of $1,000,000 per year. We are not funded by the Humane Societies of the United States, and receive no tax dollars or state or national funding. We raise our entire budget each year through private donations, fundraisers, corporate support, service contracts and adoption fees. 95% of every dollar contributed goes directly to program services and the care of shelter animals.

How can I help the Fox Valley Humane Association?
We have a number of opportunities available for individuals, groups, and businesses! Monetary donations are vital as FVHA needs to raise over$1,000,000 annually to care for the animals and support our many programs. Please visit our DONATE page for more info or our SPONSORSHIP page for info on corporate sponsorship. You may also view our WISH LIST to learn about specific items needed at FVHA. Volunteers are also a key factor in the success of the shelter! There are a variety of ways to volunteer your time at the FVHA. Visit our VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES page for more details. For more ways to help, visit the HELP US portion of our website or contact us at (920)733-1717 or [email protected]. Thank you!

How long do you keep your animals?
There is no set time limit. Each animal is evaluated on an individual basis to see how it is adjusting to the shelter environment. We are always very concerned about each animal’s physical and emotional well-being.

Do you charge to surrender an animal?
FVHA charges a small fee to cover the most basic cost of caring for your animal during his or her stay at the shelter. To learn more about this fee, see our SURRENDER YOUR PET page. With the surrender fee, we will accept any companion animal that is brought to our shelter.

What are the legal requirements for holding stray animals?
The State of Wisconsin (SS. 173.23) requires that stray animals be held four days to allow the owner opportunity to claim the animal. If the animal is not claimed during that time, it becomes the property of FVHA and can be placed for adoption.

How are animal abuse reports handled?
We channel all abuse or neglect complaints to local law enforcement authorities and we respond to these authorities whenever assistance is requested.

Is wildlife admitted to the shelter?
No. Please click here to view local contacts concerning injured, sick or orphaned wildlife.

Who helps the animals when there is no one at the shelter?
We have staff on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for emergencies. All area law enforcement authorities have access to our mobile phone and pager numbers.

Does FVHA recommend any veterinary services?
We feel the Fox River Valley is fortunate to have many excellent veterinary clinics. Visit the OUR VETERINARY PARTNERS page to see a select list local clinics.

Is FVHA an animal rights organization?

No. The Fox Valley Humane Association is an animal welfare organization. Our purpose is to prevent cruelty to animals, relieve suffering among animals, and to extend humane education. Our organization’s work is reflected by our mission and vision statements: “Fox Valley Humane Association is caring for the Fox Valley’s pets – and their people.”


What is the purpose of the adoption fee?
The fees for adoption have been set for several reasons. Studies have shown that people tend to think about the responsibilities of pet ownership a little more thoroughly when a fee is involved. The fee discourages pet adoptions for cruel or inhumane purposes. Also, as a non-profit organization, the adoption fees help to pay for the care of each animal during his or her time at the shelter. Visit the ADOPTION FEE page to learn more about what is included in the fee.

What steps are taken to provide healthy pets to the public?
FVHA’s team of veterinarians monitor the health of each animal during their stay at the shelter. Each animal is vaccinated and receives a basic health exam. Many conditions are treated in the shelter’s own surgical suite.

Are adoptable animals spayed and neutered?
All adoptable dogs, cats, and rabbits are sterilized by FVHA’s veterinarian team in the onsite Sarah Paul Surgical Suite. FVHA’s spay and neuter program is a humane, life-saving population control program. Animals also experience health and behavior benefits once spayed or neutered.


Who performs euthanasia?
FVHA’s team of certified euthanasia technicians (as required by the Sate of Wisconsin Controlled Substance Board) perform euthanasia with the utmost care and respect for each animal. FVHA humanely euthanizes by lethal injection using sodium phenobarbital.

Who decides which animals should euthanized?
Every decision to euthanize an animal is made by a team of FVHA staff members, and is only done for extreme circumstances when all other options have been exhausted.

What is done with the animals after they are euthanized?
FVHA is serviced by a private cremation service.

Why does FVHA continue to utilize euthanasia in select cases?
FVHA is a full-service animal shelter and we are the only local shelter that will take in as a last resort (meaning the animal was unable to find another shelter or home to take them in). Therefore, we see the Valley’s cases of abuse, neglect, injury, and animals that suffer from severe health and severe behavioral problems. FVHA’s highly trained staff is here to provide the animals with the very best care and quality of life. Euthanasia is only considered when it is in the very best interest of the animal and community. FVHA does not euthanize for population or due to time spent in our facility and continues to find homes for 100% of the adoptable dogs and cats. FVHA’s spay and neuter programs, training and rehabilitation programs, educational programs and more have helped to dramatically reduce the rate of euthanasia in our community.

Is requested euthanasia performed at FVHA?
Yes. Euthanasia is never an easy choice, therefor we offer low-cost requested euthanasia and a private cremation service upon request in hopes of easing some of the difficulty pet parents may face.


What should I do if I’ve lost my pet?

  1. Call the Fox Valley Humane Association at (920) 733-1717 ext 100 to file a lost report and bring a photo of your pet to the shelter. You may also submit a lost cat report or lost dog report online.
  2. Call your local law enforcement agency.
  3. Conduct a neighborhood search.
  4. Make posters and distribute them throughout the area.

What’s involved in claiming my pet from the shelter?
When claiming a dog, you must have proof of a current rabies vaccination as well as a current license. When claiming a cat, the requirement for current rabies vaccination and license is mandated by municipal ordinance. It is always best to make sure your pet’s license and vaccinations are current.

What should I do to protect my pet should it ever get lost?
Purchase a license! 
This will enable law enforcement to return your animal to you promptly. Have your pet micro-chipped always keep a collar on your pet with a license tag, rabies tag, and tag with the animal’s name, home address, and family’s phone number.


Who establishes your policies?
FVHA’s Board of Directors.

How can we learn about your policies?
You can read our Position Statement which describes the Fox Valley Humane Association’s view of many practices and policies related to animal welfare.

What is your policy on “no-kill” shelters?
Euthanasia is never a pleasant alternative. It is, however, a HUMANE one! For a variety of reasons, FVHA has no choice but to euthanize some animals that come through our doors. Many of these animals have severe health or behavioral problems that cannot fairly (or safely, in some cases) be passed on to a new owner. Before making this difficult decision, we receive input from veterinarians, professional trainers, animal behaviorists, breed rescue groups, owners, and trained and certified FVHA staff. In many cases, “no-kill” shelters still ship the animals elsewhere for euthanasia but do not euthanize pets themselves, allowing them to maintain a “no-kill” shelter status. Therefore, our policy is to continue to perform euthanasia whenever its humane and/or all other options have been exhausted.

Why don’t we allow our pets to be adopted as outdoor pets?
Unfortunately, we no longer live in a society where we can go away and safely leave our animals unattended outdoors. We see evidence of this on a DAILY basis at the shelter. 95%of the abuse/neglect and complaint cases that we assist law enforcement with are animals that are housed outdoors—part or all of the time. Cats that live indoors have a much greater life expectancy than those allowed outdoors. Felines are also highly susceptible to upper respiratory problems and the deadly disease of feline leukemia. Both dogs and cats are companion animals and they need the bond that an indoor living arrangement provides. Allowing your cat to roam “freely” outdoors, or confining your dog in a pen or tied to a doghouse, results in behavior problems and nuisance complaints. Many of our policies have been established based on experience and in the best interests of the animals and people we serve in our community.

Why must animals be sterilized before adoption?
Take a look at some of these statistics and you will find the answers.

  • In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can theoretically produce 420,000 cats. (HSUS)
  • In six years, one female dog and her offspring can theoretically produce 67,000 dogs. (HSUS)
  • In the U.S., one billion dollars are spent every year destroying Man’s Best Friend. (FUND FOR THE ANIMALS)
  • 4-5 million dogs and cats are euthanized annually in shelters across the United States because there simply are not enough homes for them. (HSUS)
  • Each one of these animal’s lives were special. “And each time we are forced to perform euthanasia because we (humans) have failed to provide proper care or behavioral training, a little bit of us dies, too.” (FVHA Staff)


If you have further questions, please contact us.

Thank you for your interest in the Fox Valley Humane Association!

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